Kandice Henning

Board President 

Learn More about Kandice Henning

Kandice is the Founder and Executive Director of the Alive Not-for-profit Center in Naperville, Illinois. The first organization of its kind, Alive aims to provide the community with an inclusive experience of learning, sharing, and discovery that enables people to connect with what makes them come alive.  From the merger with NaperBridge in January of 2015, Alive will have an even stronger teen program. 

Kandice is a Life Coach and Certified Yoga Teacher (CYT). After spending 25+ years as an executive in the corporate world at Accenture and IBM, she is now following her true passion – helping people to create the life they desire. Kandice is a graduate of Life Coaching school, Coach for Life. She also is a certified Heal Your Life Workshop Leader (Louise Hay’s work). She has her 200hr CYT from Moksha Yoga in Chicago and is currently obtaining her 500hr CYT through ParaYoga (Rod Stryker). She has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Illinois. 

Tina Hinch

Board Vice President

Learn More About Tina Hinch
Tina Hinch is a Senior Director of Engineering at Nokia.  She leads a global team of 500 engineers spanning 3 continents, developing next generation cloud-based software for telecommunications providers. She has 30 years of technical and executive experience in the industry, working at Bell Labs, AT&T, Lucent Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia.  Her teams have blazed the trails through several “telecommunications revolutions” and provided top notch products and support to telco customers.  She is a U.S. Patent holder.   Throughout the years, Tina has served in an advisory capacity to many underrepresented groups in the work place, as well as provided one-on-one career coaching. She has served as keynote speaker and panelist in various forums, sharing her career experience in STEM. Tina moved to Naperville from Los Angeles after graduating from UCLA with a BS in Math/Computer Science and an MS in Computer Science and a two-year stint at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.


Tina and her husband reside in Naperville. Both of their two adult children are employed and reside in warmer climates.


Anita Knotts

Board Secretary

Learn More About Anita Knotts

After nearly 30 years in the financial services arena, Anita Knotts is a highly accomplished senior executive with vast expertise in sales, marketing, and business development in the competitive wealth management market. After spending the first part of her career as a successful investment advisor followed by years of leadership, Anita is now embarking on the next phase of her career as an entrepreneur.  Anita has recently launched her new business Lotus Women’s Institute LLC. The mission of the organization is to bring financial literacy to women as well as encourage more women and people of color to choose financial services as a career path. She believes strongly that firms who implement initiatives to hire diverse teams – specifically for frontline roles – will have a competitive edge.

In 2019 she was recognized by Investment News as a “See It, Be It Role Model” for diversity and inclusion as part of their annual Diversity & Inclusions Awards program. Her recognition was well- deserved, as her passion to educate, encourage and empower women to take a larger role in their financial lives drove the launch of the successful Women & Wealth initiative during her time with Calamos Wealth Management. Within the broader Calamos enterprise, Anita formed the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN); a forum for women associates to regularly meet and openly discuss topics pertaining to professional development and personal work/life balance. She is a frequent contributor and presenter on the topics of women and wealth and leads the Chicago Western Suburbs Chapter of Ellevate, a global professional women’s network with a mission to close the gender-based achievement gap in business by providing women with a community to learn from and lean on. Anita received her B.S. in Economics from the University of Illinois and an M.B.A. with a Distinction in Finance from DePaul University. She also holds Series 7, 63 and 65 licenses.

Grace Buzzard

              Board Treasurer             

Learn More About Grace Buzzard

Grace Buzzard is a V.P. of Strategic Operations at SAP, a Fortune 500 company with 25 years in Software
as a Service (SaaS). Grace started at Fieldglass, a startup in 2000, and has seen the company grow from
startup to acquisition.
Technology helps improve the way we live. Technology is part of every industry, and she believes
Girls/Women in S.T.E.M. is needed to propel solutions that include a different viewpoint. Grace sits on
the Sr. Advisory for Benedictine University L.E.A.D.S Program, striving to see more future leaders build
their confidence and have the support network to go beyond.
Grace earned her degree in Psychology from the University of Loyola and an M.B.A. from Notre Dame.

Edward Bugg

              Board Member              

Learn More About Edward Bugg

Edward Bugg has been a resident of Aurora’s Far Southeast side since he and his wife had their home built in in 2004.

Since moving to Aurora, Edward has become involved with numerous local organizations.  In 2013, he was elected Alderman of Aurora’s Ninth Ward and was re-elected in both 2017 and 2021. Alderman Bugg currently serves as the Chairperson of the Rules, Administration and Procedures (RAP) Committee of the Aurora City Council and is a member of the Finance Committee.  As Alderman, Bugg has worked with local residents to build a dynamic, vibrant Community and in 2019 Aurora’s Ninth Ward was the #1 Community for Millennials to move to in Illinois to raise a family.   

Aside from his role with the City, Edward serves on the Boards of Grace Community Christian Church and Remington Crossing Homeowners Association.  Before moving to Aurora, he served as the Executive Secretary of the Park Forest Community Development Cooperation.

Edward’s educational background includes both a degree in Business from Eastern Illinois University and a Law degree from the University Of Illinois College Of Law. He has worked in both the business and legal fields for various levels of government and as the Vice -President of an Arbitration/ Mediation firm in the private sector.

Edward and his wife Beth have 3 children. They are involved in the local schools, various sports leagues and volunteer at Feed My Starving Children and the Aurora Inter-Faith Food Pantry.

Adam Cortes

Board Member 

Learn More About Adam Cortes

Adam Cortes has been involved in the Hanover Park community since joining Wintrust Bank in 2013.  Adam grew up in Chicago as the son of first generation Mexican and Polish immigrant parents. Growing up in Chicago deepened his understanding of diversity and the needs affecting various cultural groups. After graduating from UIC with a degree in Finance, Adam moved to the Northwest Suburbs and started working in the banking sector. After the 2009 recession, Adam began focusing on financial literacy and counseling within the community. 

Adam has volunteered and served with many local organizations including The Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce, Wings, Hanover Park Park Foundation, Hanover Park Economic Development Committee,  Northwest Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hanover Township, Junior Achievement, and other organizations. He lives in the Northwest Suburbs with family and enjoys adventure travel and outdoor activities.

Tom Crowley

Board Member

Learn More About Tom Crowley

Tom Crowley is a value and results oriented business leader. He recently retired from an executive role at Google, and prior to that he spent years as a Senior Leader at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He was also a CIO and founder of an IT Outsourcing company. Tom has sold and delivered many strategic programs to and for Fortune 100 companies. Tom has served as the Chairman of the Board of the Naperville YMCA’s and is currently a Director on the Naperville Heritage Society Board. Volunteering and giving
back are passions of Tom.

Tom and his wife, Manon, have 4 adult children and reside in Naperville. Tom earned his Masters in Business Administration Degree from Northern Illinois University.

Chris Gandy

Board Member

Learn More About Chris Gandy

Chris has spent the last 19 years helping individuals reach their most important financial goals. In 1999, Chris started his own financial services practice and, since then, has traveled the U.S. working with business owners, physicians, professional athletes and key executives. Chris specifically focuses on the areas of Life Insurance, Disability Income Insurance, Investments, and Tax Reduction Strategies.

Chris was a Communications major at the University of Illinois. Outside of the classroom, he played on the Fighting Illini basketball team where he was co-captain and earned 2nd Team All Big-Ten honors. After college, Chris played professional basketball for the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and in L’Hermaine, France.

Early in his career, Chris worked as a Northwestern Mutual Financial Network Representative. While there, he received numerous awards and was a top producer. He became a Million Dollar Round Table Member in 2003 – the premier association of financial professionals. In the spring of 2005, Chris moved his financial services practice to the Molyneaux Financial Group, LLC, a general agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. There, he received the Impact Award in 2006 as well as the Management Council and Leaders Conference Honors in 2007.

Chris donates his time and efforts to many organizations. In 2012, Chris found a way to give back to sports by becoming a board member of the Chicago Concussion Coalition (Founded by Chris Nowitzki, of the Emmy Nominated movie “Head Games”, he finds passion in helping resolve the issue of CTE in sports) which strives to make amateur sports safer for children. He is on the Board of Directors for the Urban League, is part of the United Way’s Young Community Leaders, and volunteers for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization. In 2013, Chris was nominated to the NBARPA committee board for the Chicago chapter and, again, qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table.

“Our Fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch”

Karina Garcia

Board Member

Learn More About Karina Garcia

Karina is the first female President & CEO of the Aurora Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She is also the first to be born outside of the United States and to become a Naturalized U.S. citizen. Mrs. Garcia is the owner of two local businesses. She is  the President of A&A Transportation 1 Inc., a growing transportation business in the construction industry and a business partner of CBG Renovators, an LLC real estate rehab corporation dedicated to purchasing and rehabilitating real estate. 

Born in Mexico City, at age 9, Karina was brought by her parents to the state of Illinois, which soon became the American Dream. Mrs. Garcia has always been an active member of her community. In 1995, she began to volunteer her time to the community and translate letters and take people to appointments to translate for them.  Mrs. Garcia served as a volunteer at World Relief, and at Accion Latina where she would teach U.S. residents the U.S.A. Constitution who were getting prepared to be tested to become U.S. citizens. The same year she started attending DePaul University for training in the immigration procedure. Mrs. Garcia served four years as a volunteer for the Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce(AHCC) and was named Volunteer of the Year for two consecutive years in 2009 and in 2010 by the members of the AHCC. Mrs. Garcia has participated in “Toys for Tots”, “Matching Pallet” with the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry and Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry, “Pampering our Woman” with Mutual Grounds, “LockUp” with the Aurora Puerto Rican Cultural Council and “Girls Run the World” with the Aurora Police Department.  Mrs. Garcia sat on the Advisory Board of the Interfaith Food Pantry, Board Member of the AHCC, Board Member of the Family Shelter Services, current Board Member of the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry, current board member of the Aurora Puerto Rican Council, current board member of the APS Training Institute and current committee member of the Miss Fiestas Patrias DuPage. In 2014, Mrs. Garcia participated as an author in the first Today’s Inspired Latina Book where she shared her success story and now is a nationwide book.  

In her role as President & CEO, Mrs. Garcia focuses her time on the many issues affecting the Hispanic community. An unwavering characteristic of the President & CEO is her aptitude for showing caring and understanding in all that she does. Mrs. Garcia spends much of her time meeting with entrepreneurs, young professionals and business owners who come from all over the west suburbs. One of her recent achievements was meeting with a group of young professionals in Aurora to discuss the needs of our millennials and how she can cultivate resources that are needed.  Over the past five years she’s been invited to the schools to speak about her career and achievements, has also participated as a guest speaker at the “Multicultural Career Language” with West Aurora High School and was also invited to be “Principal for a Day” at Dist. 129, as well as with Girls Scouts of America, Mutual Grounds.

Mrs. Garcia was also the President & CEO for the non-for-profit  Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Dollars for Scholars(AHCCDFS) – a Program of Scholarship America, where she was the founder of Miss Fiestas Patrias Aurora and was able to give out more that $60K in scholarships in partnership with board members, St. Augustine College and the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board. Karina was awarded by the AHCCDFS and by St. Augustine College for her outstanding support offered to both organizations. Mrs. Garcia launched a network called Mujeres in Business were they would meet once a month to promote women’s empowerment and each other’s product, they have brainstorm sessions, panelist, motivational stories of success and an annual Mujeres in Business Luncheon to award “Woman Who Have Lead by Example.” After several events the group grew to be the largest diverse network of women, which led Mrs. Garcia to shift the branding of the network to the next level. Knowing that this group had turned into the largest diverse group of women, to make it more inclusive and open for other opportunities for women, the name changed to International Women of Influence.

Paul Hinterlong

Board Member

Learn More About Paul Hinterlong
Naperville City council member. Long term resident of Naperville. Councilman, Naperville City Council, 2009-2019 City of
Naperville Plan Commission, 2005-2009 City of Naperville Advisory Commission on Disabilities, Board Member, 2012-Present
City of Naperville Special Events Committee, Board Member, 2012-Present City of Naperville CAPS (Citizens Appreciate Public
Safety), Board Member, 2012-Present Naperville Healing Fields, Board Member, 2012 Centennial Beach 75th and Naperville
Park District 40th Anniversary Aquathon Committee, 2006 Naperville 175th Birthday Heritage Committee and co-chair of the
Electric Light Parade, 2006 Naperville 175th Birthday Unity Committee- area captain, 2006 Westside Homeowners Association
President, 2002-2005 Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation Director, 2004-2005 Washington St. Corridor Study
stakeholder group, 2003 Downtown DuPage River Trail stakeholder group, 2003 Centennial Park Skate Park Facility citizen
committee, 2003 City of Naperville Comprehensive Transportation Plan work group, 2002 Community First Founding and
Board Member, 2000-Present Conservation Foundation member and annual participant of the DuPage River Sweep Naperville
North High school Class of 1983 Reunion Committee.

Paul Novak

Board Member 

Learn More About Paul Novak

For the past 13 years, Paul has worked with individuals, families & businesses, guiding them through the areas of investment management and financial planning.  He has worked with some of the best minds in the industry and currently holds the role of Partner and Senior Wealth Manager at T2 Asset Management in Oakbrook.  Paul has earned numerous awards for his work in investment management, including appearing in the Wall Street Journal and Chicago Magazine for his long standing ‘Five-Star Wealth Manager’ designation.  

Aside from his passion for wealth management, Paul also has a desire to give back.  In 2008 he founded LEADZ, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to giving back to the local community.  Spear-heading LEADZ’s second chapter in Naperville, Paul was able to raise a significant amount locally, while providing a platform for local business to volunteer and thrive. 

Paul has substantial board and leadership experience, serving on multiple private sector, chamber and not-for-profit boards.  He is also a past Rotarian, and knows the true meaning of “service above self”.  

Above all, Paul is a family man.  He is a new father of a 5-month old baby girl, and looks forward to new sets of rewards and challenges that will bring.  He hopes to teach her “not to try to fix whatever comes in your life.  Fix yourself in such a way that whatever comes, you will be fine” – Sadhguru

Bex Pellicano

Board Member 

Learn More About Bex Pellicano

Bex Pellicano is an accomplished individual who has overcome significant challenges to achieve success and make a positive impact on her community. Born and raised in an underprivileged background, she was raised by a single mother who instilled in her the values of resilience, hard work, and compassion.

Currently serving as the Executive Director at the Pellicano Family Foundation that she and her husband Vic founded in 2022 after Oracle acquired his tech company, Bex is deeply committed to philanthropy and community development. Through her role, she spearheads initiatives aimed at uplifting underprivileged individuals and families, providing them with access to education, healthcare, and essential resources.

In addition to her professional responsibilities, Bex dedicates a significant portion of her time to raising her four boys and instilling in them the same values that have guided her own journey. She believes that family is the cornerstone of a strong community and works tirelessly to create a nurturing environment for her children.

Passionate about giving back, Bex actively volunteers in the local community, engaging in various projects and programs that address social issues and promote equality. Her dedication to service has earned her respect and admiration from those around her, as she consistently demonstrates a genuine desire to improve the lives of others.

Dawn Portner

Board Member

Learn More About Dawn Portner
Dawn Portner is the Special Events Coordinator for the City of Naperville. She has been there for 2 ½ years. Prior Dawn was the Special Events and Marketing Manager for a key local Naperville nonprofit for over 10 years. Dawn also serves on the Board of the Exchange Club of Naperville, where she has held many different roles and responsibilities, on the local, district and national level.


Dawn graduated from Lewis University with a Master’s degree and from California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor’s degree, both in the field of Criminal Justice.


Volunteering is an important part of Dawns life and she is looking forward to serving on the Board if the Alive Center


Tiffany Sellman

Board Member

Learn More About Tiffany Sellman

As Chief Human Resources Officer, Tiffany partners with the Executive Leadership team to design and execute the human
resources objectives that support The Mather Group’s growth and success. She also collaborates with all leaders to help ensure they attract, retain, and develop employees who contribute to the progress on those objectives. Tiffany joined TMG in June 2022, bringing more than 20 years of human resources experience in the financial industry. Immediately prior to TMG, she served as Director, U.S. Head of Human Resources for ABN Amro Clearing Chicago LLC. Additionally, her previous roles include Senior HR
Business Partner at PEAK6 Investments, HR Director at Morningstar, Associate, HR Business Partner at JPMorgan Chase & Co.,
and HR Specialist, Recruiting Coordinator at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Tiffany earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Iowa.
Personally, Tiffany is a proud wife to husband, Chad, and mom to triplet, 10-year-old boys Tyler, Bennett, and Ethan. In
addition to being an experienced HR professional for 20+ years, she also received a Life Coach Certification that she completed in 2020. In her spare time, Tiffany loves to entertain family and friends, and always finds time for a good work-out as that is
“therapeutic” as she describes it.

Alisa Williams

Board Member 

Learn More About Alisa Williams

 For over 30 years, Alisa has served all demographics of youth in grades K-12 throughout Fox Valley. Her passion is for middle and high school students, providing ministry, mentoring, and leadership training in various local churches, nonprofit organizations and through her own nonprofit, Envision You Ministries (EYM) which she founded in 2018. EYM serves fathers, women, and girls with the Abba Group, and the Beauty and Boot Camp. Alisa is employed at Ecolab and recently celebrated 20 years of service. She has worked in various capacities including Credit & AMP; Collections Management, Project Management,
Training, and Sales Administration. At Ecolab, Alisa has also served on the board of multiple Employee Resource Groups, promoting diversity throughout the nation. However, her most satisfying work was helping expand Ecolab’s reach to the local
community through its Community Relations Council. This is how she was introduced to the ALIVE Center many years ago. The “Teen-Led, Teen-Driven” tag line caused her to connect, attend, and volunteer (and bring others to volunteer) with the organization.
Alisa’s educational background is from Lewis University in Romeoville where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management and a Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Leadership, with an emphasis in Training. As an avid learner, she most
recently completed the Living Word Christian Center’s School of Ministry in Forest Park, IL where she earned her Ministry
License. Alisa and her husband Charles, reside in Aurora, IL.

Learn More About ALIVE!